School gets a boost from Progress Energy

Published March 16, 2003|Updated Aug. 31, 2005

Pinellas Central Elementary School will be getting a little help from a new friend over the next three years.

Progress Energy Florida, formerly Florida Power, announced a $100,000 commitment to the school as part of its involvement in the Partnership to Advance School Success program. The statewide initiative pairs low-performing schools _ those with a state grade of D or F _ with private businesses willing to donate time and money.

Progress Energy chief executive officer Bill Habermeyer will work with principal Felita Lott to develop a management plan for the school. The corporation's employees will mentor students. A cash infusion will pay for teacher training, educational software and incentives for staff and students.

"The CEO will assist by incorporating some of his business strategies into our school management techniques," Lott said. "There will be a conversation piece between the two of us. The goal is to have the team work hands-on to improve our operation and increase our school grade to an A over the three-year grant."

Because schools and corporations both work with large numbers of people, Lott thinks a partnership between Progress Energy and Pinellas Central will help the school learn how to make the most of its resources. Habermeyer sees the partnership benefiting his company as well.

"I think all of us realize our future, any way you define it, is in our schools," he said. "Those children are our future employees. We want them to be successful."

Besides the mentoring she will receive from Habermeyer, Lott is excited about the mentoring her students will receive from Progress Energy employees.

"Any time we can get extra people in the classroom, it's beneficial to the students," Lott said, explaining that children tend to see volunteers as role models. "They can do some goal setting. They can have something to work toward."

The partnership, which will get under way within the next few weeks, should be fully implemented by the begining of the 2003-04 school year.